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Cardiologist visit may change everything
Old 05-04-2013, 06:17 AM   #1
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Cardiologist visit may change everything

Been digesting the news for three weeks, still in shock. Seems that my aortic stenosis has gotten much worse in the last year. I'm going for a second opinion at the KU Med Ctr (Kansas City) next week. Here we sit in a town with few friends, little support network (I'm here for w*rk).

54 years old and could FIRE anytime per Firecalc. Now, we can't decide - take medical leave and get it done while I'm still employed or retire next year, get the he!! out of dodge, move to where we want to live (and closer to a major med center) and have it done then. I don't know if I can last that long. ("It" - BTW - is open heart surgery for valve replacement)
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:45 AM   #2
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Well, from the outside looking in, it looks pretty clear to me. You can't enjoy your early retirement if you don't live to see it. The recovery period can be reasonable, so it may not even be a toss-up, decide after you fix your urgent health problem.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:58 AM   #3
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I am sorry to hear this but if your second opinions also recommends replacement I also would not wait. I think there are advantages to having it done when you are still working. Do you get sick leave short term disability? Maybe start researching what hospitals and surgeons you can go to with your current insurance?
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:05 AM   #4
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I'd do it sooner not later. What's your STD/LTD insurance like? You could get paid through all of this then retire right after.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:39 AM   #5
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Yes - I get STD. That's where I'm at - do the procedure, get paid, then retire. DW is struggling with this.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:59 AM   #6
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I would get it fixed now. Don't wait. By the way,my BIL had a valve repaired two years ago at the Cleveland clinic by robot. As I remember, he also said that the valve could be replaced if the repair procedure did not go as planned. He opted for this due to faster recovery time. I'd look into all possibilities. He and my sister traveled from N.C. to Cleveland for the procedure and sister was able to stay on site for the duration, about ten days as I recall.
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:16 AM   #7
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Get the 2nd opinion, but I would not wait once you have the results. Stay on payroll for a few on the benefits and use leave as needed.

Moving can add stress to your life, I would limit any new stress.

Good luck.
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:10 AM   #8
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I agree with those who recommend getting this taken care of ASAP but consider traveling to a medical facility you have confidence in. You can stay in a Residence Inn type hotel during treatment.

I also agree with those who say don't move right now. Wait until you have recovered completely.
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:17 AM   #9
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I would say, resolve the medical issue while you are working and then you can reassess ER, relocating, or continuing to work. By all means get a 2nd opinion and I hope all works out for the best for you.
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:45 AM   #10
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I looked up KUMed in KC Kansas. They have an excellent reputation for cardiac surgery
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:34 PM   #11
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If it was me, I would be getting a second opinion and looking into what needed to be done ASAP. I wouldn't consider waiting to do that. If medically it was best to do something now, then I wouldn't wait until next year.
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:38 PM   #12
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I agree with the above folk's thoughts about not waiting. I wish you the best.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:36 PM   #13
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Here's another source article you may have seen already-
What are the symptoms of aortic stenosis? - WebMD Answers

Sounds like a good idea to get a prompt second opinion. I agree that it seems best to have this fixed while still employed for financial (insurances etc.) & possibly medical reasons (apparent progression over last yr).

I know it sounds scary, but sounds like it's fixable. People can still be VERY active after cardiac surgery. Last year I ran a marathon with a middle-age guy who had cardiac/aortic surgery done a few yrs before- and he was running easy to stay back with me

Best wishes & stay in touch!
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Old 05-04-2013, 03:06 PM   #14
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I am 53 and also diagnosed with a serious heart problem. I just want to wish you luck! Hopefully we can get through this!
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:43 PM   #15
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Good luck to both of you. I would also do it as soon as it is recommended to you. Second opinion is always a good idea though.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:09 PM   #16
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If this is the case, then I would opt for a second opinion, then switch from STD to LTD or FMLA , then enjoy my retirement.
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Originally Posted by Turn_the_Page View Post
Yes - I get STD. That's where I'm at - do the procedure, get paid, then retire. DW is struggling with this.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:10 PM   #17
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May I ask why your wife is struggling with this ?
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Originally Posted by Turn_the_Page View Post
Yes - I get STD. That's where I'm at - do the procedure, get paid, then retire. DW is struggling with this.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:24 PM   #18
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Re - DW and waiting. We just don't fit in - frankly - in our community. Having the surgery in KC is good, as we have friends and family there. Once we're home, it's just the two of us. And that's OK until I (and if I) go back to work.

I don't think we'll just retire into a group of friends, unless it's in KC. She's not hard and fast against it. I think it's likely more of a desire to put it off. She just recovered emotionally in the last year from a breast cancer bout in 2008. It's been nice to have my wife back. She has a lot of baggage left from the way she was treated during her ordeal, which she'll struggle with.

I really agree - do it now, keep working, take STD/LTD/FMLA or whatever. Even if I drop to 1/2 pay on LTD, it's better than zero. Then revisit, work a bit or pull the plug. I don't want to rush into an emotional relocation/retirement decision that we end up regretting. The other kicker is that houses in our town typically are on the market 9-10 months before they sell. I told her the other night - what happens if we decide to move first and then we sit here for a year until it sells? In the meantime, I've gotten a lot worse.

The prognosis after surgery is practically indistinguishable from a 'normal' person. You have to get through the surgery and the week or so after that. Then I should be good for a long time.

Thanks for all the comments.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:32 PM   #19
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If this the case, then I would opt for a second opinion, then switch from STD to LTD or FMLA , then enjoy my retirement.
I agree on all counts - 2nd opinion, STD, LTD, FMLA etc. Then retire.

Go to a major center that does a lot of these procedures, both for the 2nd opinion and the procedure. It really matters - you want to go to a hospital where they do a lot of these procedures. That's how you get the best outcome.

KU Med is good, Cleveland Clinic is good. Cleveland probably does more but they both come out very high nationally.

I've had friends with good outcomes at both of these. Cleveland Clinic is where I'd go if I didn't live near a major center. They have a team approach and I've only heard good things about the place.

Good luck with it - and don't wait. You don't have to decide to retire yet, just go on STD etc. It's going to be a long, hard recovery, so take your time and do it right.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:35 PM   #20
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Re - DW and waiting. We just don't fit in - frankly - in our community. Having the surgery in KC is good, as we have friends and family there.
I saw this after I finished writing. Since you have family in KC, I'd do that. KU is ranked very high and your wife could (presumably) stay with them while you were hospitalized, which would save some money.
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